2013 would appear to be the year that cinema decides to represent the warped vision of "The American Dream". We’ve already had Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring living the dream by how much designer swag they’ve accrued, the upcoming The Wolf Of Wall Street would have you believe that richness is next to godliness, while Pain & Gain dives right in the shallow end; how good you look should dictate what you're entitled to. And in the world of Michael Bay, everything looks good, just don’t look too far beyond the surface.
We meet our super-buff trio Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson) in a popular Miami gym where they all work, and they’ve devised a plan to kidnap local douchebag Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub) and force him to sign over all of his money and property. Their reasoning? They believe they should have it just because they want it, and he shouldn’t have it because they don’t believe he deserves it, which rings true just enough to work.
Bay presents us with a gorgeous Miami; a land of eternal sunsets, filled with the most beautiful people in the world (and if you took out the slo-mo, the film might be a whole hour shorter). The super black comedy whips back and forth from tasteless to just plain distasteful, making you laugh out loud one minute, and then grimace in shock the next. But even as the film descends further and further into madness, it reminds you with a subtitle: This Is Still A True Story.
Truth be told, the plot is slim pickings, but even though it's jam-packed with memorable mini-moments, there's still not nearly enough to properly fill out the two hours plus running time. What entertains here is the interplay between the three leads, with The Rock rarely better than he is here as a coked-out hot-mess, and Wahlberg deftly walking the line between a big loveable teddy-bear and a truly nasty piece of work.
After an onslaught of sexism and homophobia, coupled with a sucker-punch of a coda, the movie definitely leaves you on a sour note. But you will think back over it, discussing its mantra of "Get as much as you can with as little effort as possible". That’s right; you will be discussing the intelligence of a Michael Bay film. Frankly, we’re as shocked as you are.